NGO Report (for LOIPR) to the 5th and 6th Report of Switzerland on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

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Compiled by:
Child Rights Network Switzerland

CRC Timeline Switzerland 2019 – ca. 2021:

Above July 2019 Coalition NGO Report compiled by Child Rights Network Switzerland, of which Zwischengeschlecht.org/StopIGM.org is a member, contains sections on intersex and IGM under ”Collection of Data > Genital mutilation” (p. 6 in report / p. 9 in PDF) and “Violence against Children > Genital Mutilation > Intersex Genital Mutilation” (p. 19 in report / p. 22 in PDF):

“1.5 Collection of Data > Genital mutilation

There is no systematic collection of data that would allow conclusions to be drawn about the extent and development of  the various genital mutilationpractices in Switzerland (number of endangered and circumcised girls/women and boys as well as intersex-children). [19] This data is indispensable for the promotion of prevention and awareness-raising measures.
--> What is Switzerland doing to improve the national data situation and the monitoring of genital circumcision?

[19] UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2016): Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Switzerland, 18th of November 2016, CEDAW/C/CHE/CO/4-5.

“4 Violence against Children > 4.5 Genital Mutilation > 4.5.3 Intersex Genital Mutilation

Contrary to recommendations by international human rights bodies [64], operations that are not medically indicated on children with variance of sex development are still practised in Switzerland and paid for by the disability insurance (IV). These operations are serious and irreparable and often cause lifelong pain and suffering. There are no legislative or other measures to prevent children from these harmful practices, which are unnecessary from a medical point of view. [65] Children affected and their families still do not have access to adequate psychosocial care. The Federal Council considers the recommendations of the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics of November 2012 to have been implemented to a large extent [66]. The Federal Council does not intend to implement the CRC-recommendations on IGM, referring to a revision of the Civil Code, which shall make it easier to change civil register entries for gender. [67] To date, there is no reliable date available on interventions carried out in Swiss hospitals that are paid for by the IV. It is alarming that hospitals are sometimes destroying corresponding medical records. [68]

  • How many interventions on intersex-children have been paid for by the IV since the publication of the Concluding Observations 2015 (disaggregated data by age at the time of the intervention, type of intervention, clinic)?
  • What has Switzerland done specifically to implement the relevant CRC, CAT, CEDAW, CCPR recommendations?

[64] CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4, paras 42-43; 2015: CAT/C/CHE/CO/7, para 20; 2016: CEDAW/C/CHE/CO/4-5, paras 24–25, 38–39; 2017: CCPR/C/CHE/CO/4, paras 24-25.
[65] A Petition (15.2043) of the human rights group Zwischengeschlecht/Stop IGM, which called for a ban on Intersex genital mutilation, failed in March 2017 in the Council of States and in June 2017 in the National Council.
[66] Federal Council (2016): Media release - People with ambiguous sex - Fostering sensitivity (Medienmitteilung – Menschen mit uneindeutigem Geschlecht – Sensibilität fördern).
[67] Federal Council (2018): Measures to fill gaps in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Switzerland (Massnahmen zur Schliessung von Lücken bei der Umsetzung der Kinderrechtskonvention in der Schweiz).
[68] How Zurich Children's Hospital handles the medical files Cf. Inquiry Cantonal Council of Zurich (328/2018): Shredding of files concerning operations on children with variations of sex development in the Zurich Children's Hospital.UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2016): Concluding observations on the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of Switzerland, 18th of November 2016, CEDAW/C/CHE/CO/4-5.


Also the July 2019 Thematic Intersex NGO Report (PDF) provides solid evidence of ongoing IGM practices in Switzerland (p, 10, 11, 14), no legal protections for children at risk (p. 10-14), no access to redress and justice for survivors (p. 15-17), and no psychosocial and peer support for intersex children and their families (p. 14), in clear contradiction to the 2015 CRC binding recommendations for Switzerland (p. 6-8). >>> more info

During its 84th Pre-Sessional Working Group (PSWG) in September 2019, the Committee will draft the List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) with questions for Switzerland, hopefully including strong ones about intersex and IGM.

Switzerland will then have to answer these question in its State report, due in September 2020.

NGOs will then have another opportunity to submit NGO reports. Therafter, Switzerland will be examined in Geneva, likely in 2021 – hopefully to be followed by yet another strong reprimand for IGM practices for Switzerland!